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Regular Contributor

Husband and his long term hospital stay

My husband has been in and out of the hospital for the past year and a half, both for atrial flutter and for bowel obstruction. Each hospital stay was no more than 3-4 days. He had a heart ablation treatment on October 1st, which went very well. But last Sunday at 1 am he woke me because of abdominal pain. We went to the emergency room and it was another bowel blockage. He was admitted Sunday morning. Monday and Tuesday they waited to see if he got better, he did but the blockage was still there. Wednesday evening they went in to see what was causing the blockage, and it turned out he had bowel adhesions -- lots and LOTS of them. It took the surgeon more than three hours to remove them all. Thursday and last evening I spoke with him, and he sounded strong and in good spirits. 


I am planning on going to see him in an hour or so. However, the doctor called and said he is quite delirious today, doesn't know why he's in the hospital, and demanding to go home. Unfortunately, right now his bowels haven't "woken up" from the surgery and they've just started him on "liquid nutrition" in an IV. It will be at least two more weeks before he can come home and probably longer.


I'm unable to visit him because of my work schedule and the fact I don't own a car, so it's weekends only in person and by phone the rest of the time. I'm feeling guilty about "abandoning" him, which I know I haven't, especially since he's in a place with 400 people who can take care of him and are doing a good job of doing so. I also feel guilty about enjoying my solitude at home, not having to be on call to assist him, or to have to work my needs around his. 


Mainly, though, I'm scared. I'm scared of what he'll be like while I'm at the hospital visiting today, I'm scared he won't recover, I'm scared they'll have to invoke his DNR if he doesn't start to heal soon. 


I have no family nearby, no friends, nobody I can go to (other than my therapist - I see her monthly) and I don't feel comfortable talking except in generalities at work. 


That's why I write here when I'm at a low point. It's easier to get my feelings and thoughts out by writing than by telling someone verbally. I feel safer with the distance between putting my emotions out there and having them received by someone. 


My depression is back and worse, but it's the cloudy/dark season here and it always gets bad during late fall and through the winter. Now I'm not only depressed but anxiety is rearing its ugly head as well -- I have chest pain (esophagitis and anxiety-related) and am taking a quarter Xanax at least once a day where before I would take that amount roughly once every 3-4 months. 


The GOOD news is that I left my last job, which was also causing anxiety and mental stress (as I have noted before), and the great news is that I found a new, better job. I work five days a week from the office, but there are only a very few employees who come in, the rest work from home. My boss is very understanding and kind, the company takes care of its employees -- such as giving everyone 4 hours of PTO for Mental Health Day to use during October (I used mine for an eye appointment). Whatever happens, I know I'm protected by them.


I'm in a good place at work, but emotionally and physically having a hard time. Depression and Anxiety mean my eating habits go down the drain and I end up stuffing myself with comfort food -- processed calories loaded with sugar and salt, bad but especially since I have Diabetes II. Taking care of myself right now requires more effort than I feel I have. 


I know I'll get through this, and he will as well. I know whatever happens we can survive. "I am open to whatever the universe may offer" - good and bad. But as Mother Teresa said, "I know God doesn't give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I wish he didn't have such faith in me."


(Stream of consciousness writing -- gotta love it!)

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